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Wed 24 Aug 2022

The Inside Line: Ypres Rally Belgium

Great stages, passionate fans and yet another win for Ott Tänak and Hyundai Motorsport. Join us as we reflect on the hottest topics from Ypres Rally Belgium.

Star drive 
Oliver Solberg has taken his fair share of criticism over the last few weeks. Crashing so early at Secto Rally Finland earlier this month must have been a hard one to take. 

The pressure was on for the 20-year-old to bring the car home in Ypres, but he took everything in his stride to bring home a personal best result of fourth overall. 

When you look at the stage times, it’s clear young Solberg still has plenty of developing to do - he knows that. But perhaps Ypres provided a valuable lesson that you don’t necessarily need to be the fastest on the stages to bring home a good result.

Most memorable stage 
We were blessed with fine weather for most of the weekend, but Langemark 1 on Friday morning threw up plenty of drama. 

While the leading pack completed the stage with dry conditions, Adrien Fourmaux, Gus Greensmith and Oliver Solberg were caught in a sudden rain shower and dropped big chunks of time. 

It was a reminder of just how quickly things can change in rallying and that was essentially where Fourmaux’s rally started to unravel. 

Biggest surprise
Thierry Neuville’s crash on SS15. With a 17.2sec advantage over team-mate Ott Tänak, Neuville looked all but set for a repeat victory at home. There was no need to take any risks. 

Things quickly turned sour 6.4km after the start when the Hyundai man was caught off-guard by a patch of loose gravel which forced him into a ditch and out of the rally. A devastating blow for him and the thousands of local fans.

One to forget
It was a nightmare week for M-Sport Ford as Craig Breen and Adrien Fourmaux crashed their Puma cars out of contention. Both drivers seem to be stuck in a vicious cycle at the moment and they need to get out of it. 

Gus Greensmith was the only driver to complete all stages, but even he had problems and ended down in 19th overall. 

As Greensmith said at the end of the Wolf Power Stage - they need a reset. 

Photo of the rally
Taking rallying to the people. Photo by Jaanus Ree.

Best save
Takamoto Katsuta’s rally could have ended on the opening morning but for some quick thinking from him and co-driver Aaron Johnston. 

With a broken gearbox, the pair switched their GR Yaris into EV mode - using the car’s the hybrid unit to limp through two stages before the respite of service. Good work!

Quote of the rally 
“I think if Ott has problems then I have only three cylinders!”

Neuville’s reaction upon hearing about Tänak’s ‘transmission’ issue. There was a bit of friendly rivalry going on between the pair last weekend.

You’ll never believe it 
After rolling his Hyundai i20 N Rally2 at a test event the weekend prior to Ypres, WRC2 frontrunner Grégoire Munster was left without a car. 

Frenchman Frédéric Rosati kindly loaned Munster his similar machine - but the youngster was under strict instructions to bring it back in one piece! He did just that and finished runner-up to Chris Ingram in WRC2 Junior. 

Number of the rally
72. The number of points Kalle Rovanperä now leads Ott Tänak by, despite rolling out on the opening day. Things are still looking good for the Finn. 

Fun fact 
Takamoto Katsuta’s fifth place finish made him the only driver to finish in the top eight on every single rally this year. The consistency is starting to pay off.